TOPICS : Allowing CA to take its course

The Constituent Assembly has not had a smooth start with its inaugural meeting being held without fulfilment of constitutional provisions. The first meet did not even discuss the proposal tabled for voting. The CA, however, did begin the arduous task of drafting a new constitution. It goes without saying that the elected assembly should have moved ahead in adherence to the supremacy of the law, and in compliance with people’s expectations.

The assembly holds the authority and significance of national and historical dimensions. In regard to the momentous opportunities and burdens of formulating a new constitution, the CA, in all practicality, holds the responsibility of taking the country into a new era. The assembly, owing to political hangover of bigger political parties, has not moved on the desired path. In spite of sloganeering for a new Nepal, newer state structures laden with deep democratic morals and credentials, old mindsets are being reflected time and again in the constricted proceedings of the assembly. This, by design or otherwise, has dampened the role and high esteem of the assembly.

The bigger parties have undermined the role and dignity of the elected legislature. One NC representative put it in record that the assembly has not been allowed to function as per its mandate. This viewpoint is consistently echoed in the CA by other party representatives. The seven parties, evidently pampered by unrestricted powers conferred by the interim statute, would want to prolong the “transitional” phase for their benefit. However, in doing so, they have undermined the verdict of the sovereign people. First things first, the seven parties have to shed their myopia. The bigger parties led by their “old” vanguards have to disassociate formation of the government from the functioning of the CA. They have to respect people’s verdict and that there are 25 parties in CA.

The concept of three, seven or 13 parties has to go. The bigger parties have to accept and internalise the fact that a democracy cannot function in the absence of separation of powers. They should hence stop holding the CA in ransom on the pretext of government formation. The executive, legislature and judiciary should be allowed to function as per the democratic norms of checks and balances. The considerable participation of youth in CA is a welcome development. However, numerical or cosmetic inclusion alone will not suffice. Youth voice in the CA has to have a say. The older generation has to accommodate, recognise and respect new and emerging values and approaches.

If not, the whole effort of letting the fledgling democracy prosper will lose its meaning. The CA election too will be meaningless. People voted for a vibrant, dynamic and functional assembly, certainly not a toothless or figurehead CA. So unless the CA can move on in the constitution-making process, whether it is democracy, youth participation, restructuring of the state or issue of honouring peoples’ aspirations, all will be rendered meaningless.

Moktan is a CA member, RPP Nepal